Chuck's TOP TEN Records of the Year!
10.In Flames - Sounds of a Playground Fading - Guitar legend Jesper Strombland is gone, and you will be able to tell immediatly. The new dude (no I can't remember his name offhand, and I'm not looking it up) does a great job, nonetheless. This band has lost many old fans in recent years, due primarily to the fact that they aren't replicating Colony or The Jester Race repeatedly. I admire a band who has the balls to take risks and try new things knowing they will lose fans, rather than play it safe to keep old ones. This is a borderline heavy rock album, but the riffs are catchy and the choruses are memorable. My only bitch is there aren't enough guitar solos and the song "Attic" (don't even listen, just skip it.Trust me). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onzd6lkLUwA
9.Beneath the Massacre - Incongrous - I was pretty suprised not to see this CD on more "top records of the year" lists. I'm a little biased, as I have seen them live more than once, and was more impressed with them each time. This record sacrifices variety in favor of technicality. I have trouble telling songs apart at times. But when they get it right, as with the song "Damages", it's spine-tingling good. The better songs are actually on the second half of the record, which is rare, but encourages the listener to sit through the entire record, which forces you to listen to it in its entirety. Pretty clever. Another good thing is I like this more each time I listen to it, as the music is so complex, it requires lots of listens to soak it all in. Definitly worth owning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r3oK3MAv0A
8.Impending Doom - Baptized In Filth - I could tell this was going to be a mainstream /deathcore record before it even came out, due to the leanings of the last record There Will Be Violence. Luckily, these vehement Christians are competent musicians and songwriters. Each song is easily distinguishable from the other, which is always a big plus for me. Also the weird guitar sound is still present, the only way I can think of to decribe it is Pantera meets Slipknot, which I have grown to love even though I can't stand Slipknot. Lots of variety here, so you'll get to use all the moves in your headbanging repitoire.
7.Cannibal Corpse - Torture - Cannibal Corpse are generally acknowleged as the kings of Death Metal. Many fans of the genre despise them, but Death Metal fans are the most harsh critics in the world. This is better than merely 'solid' even by Cannibal Corpse standards. Great riffs, great arrangements. Scourge of Iron makes me headbang whether I want to or not. Encased in Concrete is also a highlight. Fun to listen to, never boring. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HxV65bn0Zw
6.Incantation - The first song on this record sounds alot like the first song on Onward to Golgotha, one of my all time favorite death metal records. This is an Incantation record from beginning to end. No experimentation, no melody, just pure Death Metal violence with headphone rumbling Doom breaks. No complaints here! These guys have their own patented sound, so who needs outside influences? Great comeback record. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bco3gz8a9kU
5.As I Lay Dying - Awakened - I'm not the biggest fan of these guys, I listen to them every now and then, but have been mostly "meh" about them. That should tell you how great this CD is. It is pretty by-the-numbers AILD, but this record seems to have a greater sence of conviction and urgency than their earlier records. "Overcome" will make you cry and then go fight crime on the streets barehanded. Yes, it's that good. Love the riffs, the solos, the positive lyrics, even the breakdowns. This would be #1 if I liked the metalcore style more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1VteSDwa-w
4.Meshuggah - Koloss - When you buy this CD (because I know you value my opinion so much) skip the first song. I don't know whose idea it was to start the record with a b-side song, but that's what they did. Aside from that, every song here is a keeper. "Break These Bones..." is probably my favorite track on here. Not many suprises (at this point, how could Meshuggah suprise anyone?) but, if it aint broke, don't fix it. As with all their records, the vocals do get pretty monotonous and annoying, but Meshuggah fans like me love them enough to deal with it.
3.Napalm Death - Utilitarian - This is probably Napalm Death's best record they've ever made. None of their fans will say that, as they are forever nostalgic of the SCUM and From Enslavement...days, but it's true. I was a huge Napalm fan as a kid, but my interest dwindled after Inside The Torn Apart, as it looked like they were going to stick to their alt-rock guns. I got Order of the Leech when I heard they were back to their grindcore ways, but that record was very repetitive, despite having the best titled song ever,"The Icing on the Hate." They have truly outdone themselves with this one. The first song is an intro, which I usually hate, but is cool here when seen as a nod to the old Carcass and Morbid Angel records that always started that way. "Everyday Pox" has a saxophone solo, and even more suprising, they make it work! It actually complements the song perfectly. They have also added weird clean vocals to their arsenal, which is probably my favorite part of this record. They are also mixed to sound like they are sung "over" the music instead of "with" it, which adds an atmospheric quality. Awesome record. I'm listening to it right now, as a matter of fact. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWTz7730D7Y
2.Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity - I don't care much for gore-grind. Maybe all the MySpace bands ruined it for me. I always thought it completly missed the point of Death Metal, which is emphasis on the MUSIC itself, not the lyrics. Aside from the early Carcass (who singlehandedly founded the genre) records, I always thought the stuff was for lack of a better word, dumb. That said, this record is probably the best Death Metal record of the year, for many reasons. For starters, the drumming is absolutly insane. Alot of drummers could learn from this dude, as it is not about proving how good you are, or making sure to use every fuckin cymbal in your kit on every song.(hear that, Job For A Cowboy?) Psychotic carnage is the best way I can think of to describe this music. Another reason it's great is this band seems completly oblivious to the plague of PROG currently popular in metal right now. The whole "we have to show how great musicians we are on every song" is getting really fucking OLD. It totally ruined the new BTBAM record. This record also employs a brand of clean singing I've never heard before. It's not melodic in the sence of "pleasing to the ear", but its on key to the music, and gives the record an even more bizarre, disturbing aspect. The riffs and solos are also amazing, though I wish there were more. A truly intense, strange, unsettling, amazing work of art. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWeTeFn0LhM
1.Nile - At the Gate of Sethu - I know, I just said Cattle Decap is the best Death Metal record of the year. It probably is to most people. At the Gate of Sethu isn't #1 on any list of metal records for the year that I've seen. I don't care. This is hands down, my favorite record of the year. I saw these guys a couple of times early in their career, and was completly blown away. If you have never heard them, they play a frenzied form of brutal Death Metal with an Egyptian motif. Many of their song titles are silly sounding, but that goes for nearly every Death Metal band. The songs on this record are insanely fast, but now they've finally thrown a few mid-tempo and slower riffs in the mix. The opening riff for "The Gods Who Light Up the Sky..", is a perfect example. There are also lots of atmospheric breaks between songs, which make the record all the more enjoyable. I listen to this in the dark nearly everyday, whenever I get the chance, and enjoy it more every time. The fast sections are complete mayhem, yet the riffs are easily distinguishable from one another. You can easily tell the songs apart, even though most of them are extremely fast and brutal. No small feat. The solos are also interesting, and compliment the music perfectly. The drumming is inhuman. I don't see how a human being is capable of playing THAT FAST for that long, but that's Nile for you. Many Death Metal bands could learn alot from these guys, like how to write insanely brutal Death Metal songs that are not only memorable, but catchy. There is not one note of filler on this record. Though some parts make me giggle ("The Great Tribunal!!"), none make me ever skip to the next song. Death Metal perfection. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6SZTiha8bw .